Author Topic: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?  (Read 79199 times)

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Offline the gorgon

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #100 on: July 01, 2014, 05:35:11 PM »
Tobes I was going to post a link to the same article as well, after the coroners verdict (and all the press articles) I think it's fair to say that SBC (aka us the council tax payer) could be finding themselves facing lawsuit after lawsuit unless the regents circus crossings are improved.

In case the borough solicitor is reading and has forgotten the elements of negligence:
- A duty of care
- Breach of that duty
- Breach causing harm in fact
- The harm must be not too remote a consequence of the breach

SBC do have a duty of care, they own the road and pavement, they are the planning authority who approved the scheme and most importantly accidents are now reasonably foreseeable because of the Caitlin Hunt case and that the public has made them aware of the dangers of such a junction.  They have little or no choice but to take reasonable measures to address the issues (unless they want to face negligence claims).

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #101 on: July 01, 2014, 11:14:57 PM »


I've just increased the size of the video.

I've another short piece which I'll post later.  It illustrates quite clearly (I think) why the Commercial Road entry to the 'shared space' is, (again, in my opinion), likely to prove deadly to cyclists.

Someone thought it wise to deliberately create a traffic bottle-neck at the end of Commercial road. The bus lane on the left hand side forces vehicles to move into the right hand lane at the very point where a newly installed piece of paving projects into the road which, fairly predictably, forces cyclists in the right hand lane to move to the left - further into a stream of traffic which at that point is being made deliberately denser by the new design of the road.

I do not believe that any of the changes have enhanced the safety of pedestrians and cyclists using Regents Circus.





Again, not a representative sampling but I think this is very likely to prove to be at the 'better' end of the new 'normal'.  I reckon it won't be long before the first cyclist is either pushed onto the new kerb, pushed up what remains of the pavement, knocked off or actually run over.

I don't take any pleasure whatsoever in saying that I was proved right about the temporary crossing which was put in place when the Western Flyer at B&Q was closed and I would much prefer to be proved totally wrong about Regents Circus.

Naturally the town's vibrating visionaries will accuse me of 'Talking the town down'.  Obviously my response would be DILLIGAF about their opinion, I'm more concerned with the value of real lives than than political obsession with artists impressions.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2014, 12:20:13 AM by Geoff Reid »

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #102 on: July 02, 2014, 08:28:18 AM »
I think that film illustrates the problem quite nicely Geoff. What I would say however is that both films were taken at a quiet time of the day. Add either busy traffic or even worse the late night drunks and a disaster is inevitable.


Offline the gorgon

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #103 on: July 03, 2014, 01:28:04 PM »
As I suspected, old college building to be turned into flats http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/11315835.Apartment_plan_for_fast_deteriorating_college

Pretty obvious something like this was going to happened when the planning permission for the cinema/supermarket and offices were decoupled.

Offline bobwright

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #104 on: July 06, 2014, 10:26:40 PM »
I had been previously been told the Old College building was going to be used for offices or apartments but the sums did not add up. Looks like they do now.

The Regents Circus scheme when first discussed was in Eastcott and the local councillors did raise many concerns. There was more concern about the night economy and late night movements. The road scheme by Cooper Partnership, who I think have now joined SLR in partnership was presented as a pedestrian dominated space. This area is now in Central Ward. The Highways Department are aware of the issue raised on this thread through myself and others. The traffic flows are still high at times in the area in spite of use of Wichelstowe. The future partial closure of Fleming Way is still to happen and it may not affect traffic from this direction. If anything logically it is going to increase due to the development itself.

Each time I have raised the matter the response has been to wait for the completion and to the audit with the new traffic flows. So far I have got agreement to fill in part of the cobbles so that bicycle wheels don't get caught. I have now asked for a profile on traffic flows used. I can not always promise to dip into Talkswindon however prior to reading the thread Julie and I had taken forward concerns about crossing the roads in Central. A safe crossing at Halfords is the most requested safe crossing and is posing the most difficult to solve. A crossing to Menzies has been requested numerous times. Each time the deflection is based on the future road changes. We are not letting things be and are still seeking town centre road improvements.

Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #105 on: July 06, 2014, 11:19:36 PM »
Whilst it's pleasing that you and other Central Councillors are on the case Bob, perhaps you can explain exactly who is getting in the way of sorting this death trap out?

Is it the officers or the Tories?


Offline bobwright

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #106 on: July 07, 2014, 02:52:23 PM »
Phil - In speaking to officers about the cobbles and other experiences that have been reported they have told me they have to carry an Audit based on the real traffic flows. The plans did go through the normal process.

At this time as I suspect the traffic flows are not suitable, this could be changed. For instance traffic coming down Victoria Road could carry on through as it does on Victoria Road itself. I am also clear giving way to the right is not consistent and there is no signage to support this need.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #107 on: July 07, 2014, 11:00:15 PM »
Quote
Phil - In speaking to officers about the cobbles and other experiences that have been reported they have told me they have to carry an Audit based on the real traffic flows. The plans did go through the normal process.

Good-o Bob!

Key question 1 about traffic flow is the huge Achilles Heel of ANY 'shared space' scheme  - that pedestrians can't/won't use them if flows are over 100 vehicles per hour.

Key question 2 is that none of these 'crossings' ARE actually designated in law. Consequently, there is actuallly NO obligation for drivers to stop to let people cross. Now, proponents of the schemes say that the ambiguity of the layout 'encourages' more polite behaviour - but of course, this goes out the window during peak flow and rush hour times. For able bodied people with the option to make judgements about when and where to make a run for it, that might be borderline acceptable, but for the very young, or for the old or for the disabled, its obviously both dangerous and deeply discriminatory.

Some one needs to ask these questions in a forum in which the answers can't be avoided or fudged.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #108 on: July 09, 2014, 02:26:15 AM »
Now, proponents of the schemes say that the ambiguity of the layout 'encourages' more polite behaviour - but of course, this goes out the window during peak flow and rush hour times. For able bodied people with the option to make judgements about when and where to make a run for it, that might be borderline acceptable, but for the very young, or for the old or for the disabled, its obviously both dangerous and deeply discriminatory.

I rode along Commercial Road and round the Regents Circus gyratory system again at 5pm today.  It is, in my opinion, a frigging deathtrap.

First I was physically pushed into the kerb at the choke point I videoed earlier in the topic which meant I was unable to stay in the correct portion of the road to enter the gyratory in lane 2 and found myself pushed to the far right of lane 3 by another vehicle whose driver was 'looking through' the junction at vehicles approaching from Groundwell Road/Victoria Hill so intently that she nearly had me off.  I was stranded temporarily until I could get back across two lanes to use the cycle/pedestrian crossing into Euclid Street.

I think, from this point onwards I'll be using the 'shared space' pavement areas to get across, (instead of around), Regents Circus.  Marginally safer for me, less so for pedestrians.

I'm utterly bemused by the idea that a safety audit will be conducted with 'real' traffic flows because the two vehicles which nearly had me today looked 'real' enough to get me into hospital or the morgue.  I also think that, as local drivers get used to the new look the speed of the traffic will increase further.  It's already fairly obvious that traffic is now exiting Commercial Road faster than it was because it can now 'flow' without being interrupted by pesky pedestrians pressing buttons at crossings.

Only a matter of time before the first serious collision happens.  I look forward to hearing the experts explain why the design of the road wasn't a factor....

Offline the gorgon

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #109 on: July 09, 2014, 08:01:51 AM »
On BBC West news this morning, man drowned in Bristol after coming off his bike because those that know better opposed having railings on the harbour side.  I fear that unless there is an outbreak of common-sense in SBC the same will have to happen here before anything gets done.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-28197993

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #110 on: July 09, 2014, 01:55:02 PM »
Quote
Sean Phillips's bike got stuck in a sunken rail line and he was catapulted into the water close to the M-Shed museum in March 2013

As we rode through this part of Bristol recently I went to some lengths to warn Tig about the dangers of sunken rails and bicycle wheels.

What gets me about the attitude of architects, planners and town councillors is the lack of consistency in applying common sense to their 'public realm' visions.  Only a moron would install drain gratings with gaps big enough to allow a foot or hoof to enter it.  Only the truly negligent would cause or allow a large enough hole to exist in a road surface which would cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, but when it comes to cyclists and bicycles our council has seen fit to both make the entire environment at Regents Circus more dangerous to cyclists and install road surface 'features' which can cause damage to, and the loss of rider control of, bicycles.

In case any 'official' readers of this topic haven't fully assimilated the cycle-specific points of this topic, I'll make a couple of suggestions:

1. The full width of the cobbled entry to the raised platforms needs to be made safe for bicycles - bodging a small section at either end is neither sufficient or safe.

2. The 'Pinch Point' where the bus lane begins is lethal to cyclists.  Sort it out before someone is killed or seriously injured there.

3. A clearly marked cycle lane needs marking out as a matter of urgency - I personally don't care whether it's on the road or through the pedestrian part of the 'shared space' although I'd suggest that the road is going to remain the more dangerous route for cyclists. Certainly more dangerous no than it was before. 

4. Stop blabbing about 'real traffic' and safety audits.  It is already real and already really dangerous and the production of a predictably arse-covering 'fit for purpose' safety audit won't alter the reality of the Regents Circus Cock-Up any more than the alterations at Whale-Bridge/Zimmerfields have magically improved that junction either.

Offline bobwright

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #111 on: July 09, 2014, 10:59:55 PM »
Geoff - I guess your referring to my response on the audit, hopefully you mean not the communication on the site but the communication with officers whose response is real traffic situations in which to conduct the audit. My understanding is this is not a local invention to prevent action but rather a national protocol which has to be followed.

I have gone beyond communication with officers with the whole of the Towns current and potential problems and the Administrations intended actions. I have captured your points and I will use to reinforce previous complaints.

There are a combination of factors at play - the pursuit of looks and not traditional safety design, the removal of safety street furniture for looks and reduced maintenance costs, the handing over of public highways to private designed schemes. The bleeding obvious and safety issues are not cutting it where people in power have formed partnerships with private partners. The old basis of sense dictating action seems to be subservient to commercial benefits.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #112 on: July 10, 2014, 01:18:33 AM »
There are a combination of factors at play - the pursuit of looks and not traditional safety design, the removal of safety street furniture for looks and reduced maintenance costs, the handing over of public highways to private designed schemes. The bleeding obvious and safety issues are not cutting it where people in power have formed partnerships with private partners. The old basis of sense dictating action seems to be subservient to commercial benefits.

Spot on Bob.....

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Offline Muggins

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #113 on: July 10, 2014, 08:25:38 AM »
Bob Quote: "My understanding is this is not a local invention to prevent action but rather a national protocol which has to be followed"

It strikes me that after 6 years of governments - and heavily endorsed by the present one - about dissolving power to the councils and local communities etc. etc. it's about time they stopped using NATIONAL protocols as an excuse for not thinking for themselves.

And this isn't just about roads, wifi, bins, it cuts across every aspect of the councils work with OUR money!

It's about time that government said, "No you've got the power, now use it.  Do what we gave you the power for and use it to represent your electorate."

 
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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #114 on: July 10, 2014, 09:45:04 AM »
Quote
"No you've got the power, now use it.  Do what we gave you the power for and use it to represent your electorate."

Spot on Muggins!
What's it all about?

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #115 on: July 10, 2014, 12:02:17 PM »
Bob Quote: "My understanding is this is not a local invention to prevent action but rather a national protocol which has to be followed"

It strikes me that after 6 years of governments - and heavily endorsed by the present one - about dissolving power to the councils and local communities etc. etc. it's about time they stopped using NATIONAL protocols as an excuse for not thinking for themselves.

I think this is a bit of a red herring. The national protocol is to carry out a 4 stage safety audit of which stage 3 and 4 are carried out post construction. This isn't an excuse for get it wrong in the first place. The stage 3 audit is to pick up minor problems and make a few tweaks (eg. an extra sign or lamp column). It isn't (or shouldn't) be a review of the original design concept.

The safety audit process isn't a substitute for good design it is a check that the design is working as intended. 

The national protocol doesn't prevent the council's traffic engineers from commenting. If anything, the process should welcome such comments. The Stage 3 audit will result in a report highlighting any observations/issues. This will usually involve the audit team standing on site for 1 hour during the day observing actual traffic behaviour and another visit at night. Continual observation over a period of time will obviously give a better indication of traffic behaviour that a snapshot.

The safety audit is the minimum level of risk assessment required, not the maximum level. This is a bit like saying 'I know that my tyres are bald, but the MoT isn't due for another 3 months so I will ignore it and wait to see what the test says.'

Hiding behind 'national protocol' is a way of the council spokesperson deferring comment until after he/she has seen a copy of the audit report. It is much easier to be able to hide behind someone else's report than it is to stick your neck out and pass comment. The council won't pass comment before the audit and will simply quote the report after it. Why do they bother to employee a qualified traffic engineer when all they need is a chimp who can operate a rubber stamp? Nice work if you can get it.



Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #116 on: July 10, 2014, 12:06:20 PM »
Why do they bother to employee a qualified traffic engineer when all they need is a chimp who can operate a rubber stamp?

If that same chimp could also empty my fekkin' bins, even better.

Rant over.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #117 on: July 10, 2014, 01:58:16 PM »
I have no problem and never have had a problem with them emptying my fecking bins - just everything else.

I lie - I did once and wrote John Short a lovely story to get the message across.  In the days before wheelie bins - remember those days?

Maybe it's time to get creative again.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Alex

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #118 on: July 10, 2014, 04:57:06 PM »
Today crossing from the library to the central "Island"  a bus took the corner fast and  nearly mowed me down- I looked at the other pedestrian also trying to cross and we agreed we had to take our lives in our hands even just standing there before even trying to get to the other side.

She told me she's had a few near misses. She must have been in her twenties and when I wondered aloud how disabled people managed she looked amazed as she had assumed traffic lights were going to be there eventually.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.


Offline the gorgon

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Re: Regents Circus; ugly, late, compromised, dangerous...?
« Reply #119 on: July 10, 2014, 07:53:08 PM »
Alex I'd say it's worth telling the council about that incident if you haven't done so already, that way they can't claim they were unaware of any incidents.

This is the email address for the road safety manager at SBC mtester@swindon.gov.uk

CC the email to your Cllrs as well.